"Espe wears hats of Damien Rice, John Mayer, and James Taylor without any of the fanfare, arrogance, or preconception. The perfect collection of unknown folk songs. Instantly singable, effortlessly lovable, and incredibly well for the wear." -- Patrol Magazine (patrolmag.com)
"[Songs from a Small Town] transports you into Espe's world and you will be better off for having visited." -- THISisMODERN (thisismodern.net)
"['My Whole Life'] One of the top 20 CDs we've found anywhere in the last year!" -- Intelligent Pop (2006)
"Hearing his music is like the experience of not realizing how thirsty you are until you start drinking....There's no doubt that this is some of the most gorgeous male folk you'll hear." -- Tamara Turner, CD Baby
"[His] music is honest and true. A real breath of fresh air in an ocean of superficiality -- with songwriting that reveals the insight of a skilled poet twice his age." -- Ron Craighead, KGLT Radio, Bozeman, MT
BIOGRAPHY (By Steve Grosz)
Regardless of season or venue, Aaron Espe is a constant.
Whether swaddled in the grass of a Great Plains folk festival or enveloped in the soft din of a city café, Espe’s music summons a resurrected depth that otherwise cowers within during the monotonous work week. His melodies unfetter us from our “civilized” busyness, interjecting space to reflect and be human again.
Alighting upon the folk music scene two years ago from the upland wilds of Northern Minnesota, Espe has begun to garner the attention we might expect from a significant young talent. His recent plumes include:
- Winner of 2008 Four Corners Folk Fest Emerging Artist Contest
- “My Whole Life” a top 20 album for 2006 (intelligentpop.com)
- Feature artist for the 2007 Volkswagen Auto Tour
- Among the top-ranked unsigned folk artists (myspace.com)
If such a thing as the clichéd “total package” exists then attending one of Espe’s concerts offers a hint as to what it may be. The beauty of his sound, coupled with the aura of a shy guy, stirs a desire to join the now burgeoning army of Espe’s unpaid publicists. Among his recent surge of supporters is Derek Sivers, former president of CD Baby (America’s largest distributor of independent music). In an e-mail to Espe, Sivers exclaimed that his "My Whole Life" album was "one of the best [he's] ever heard."
A few of Espe’s recordings from the abovementioned “My Whole Life” were conceived in a rapid thrust of creativity (i.e. “Grace’), while most have been the result of a slow birth of inspiration. Consequently we are aware that Espe’s songs are more than trite phrasings, but rather shards of an authentic soul cast out to those within earshot.
Without benefit of the high-powered promotion that hammers mainstream music into our consciousness, Aaron Espe’s fans, nonetheless, greedily await the release of his second album, "Songs from a Small Town" (Spring 2008).
A STORY BY DAVID GRECO:
I met Aaron Espe on his twenty-first birthday. He seemed nice enough. Quiet. Unassuming. Probably of Swedish descent. Very Minnesota - and I mean small town Minnesota. He seemed nervous every time he spoke. I dont think he did it all that often. It must have been his very first beer talking, but he asked questions and we talked music. We liked some of the same singers. I even got to name-drop as I knew the guitar player in one of the bands he mentioned. It made me feel good about myself to name-drop. It almost made me feel like a better person. Not a better person than I had been previous to the dropping of that particular guitar slinger's name; I mean a better person than any other human (or any finite being at all for that matter) in the greater tri-state area all be it, we were in the depths of Colorado and there wasn't another state for hundreds of miles. I only mention that to say that Espe (or 'spe as we would later call him in a valiant effort to save and ultimately stockpile a shit-load of time which my friend, Mike would say is our nations true currency) would never do such a thing. Name-dropping is beneath him but he would never say that as it may hurt the feelings of any habitual name-droppers listening in. All that to say: Aaron Espe is probably the nicest person you'll ever meet.
I first heard 'spe sing in the apartment of a mutual friend. Keep in mind please, I was convinced I was a way better singer, guitar player and probably kisser than Aaron could possibly be. Three chords into the song I was proven wrong. To this day, I still haven't seen the man kiss anyone (hes a pretty private guy) but Im no longer sure I'm better at it than him. It's not that often that you really get to experience someone doing what they were born to do. I just watched as GOD moved into the front row to hear His creation's creation. I've never heard Aaron sing that song again. I still remember the chorus though. "Shes alright." It was, in a word, revelatory. A lot changed for me in those minutes. I know a lot of songwriters I am one as a matter of fact but I don't know anyone better at it than this nice, shy, and talented-as-hell guy from northern Minnesota. --- David Greco